Pandemic knocks 74% off Michael O'Leary's earnings

Pandemic knocks 74% off Michael O'Leary's earnings

At the outset of the pandemic last year, Michael O’Leary volunteered a 50% cut in his base pay and his maximum bonus was capped at €500,000. File picture.

Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary has seen his annual earnings plummet by 74% to €250,000 due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the airline.

According to the latest Ryanair annual report, in the 12 months to the end of March 2021, the airline boss received no bonus as the company recorded a €1bn loss.

The airline recorded that loss as revenues plunged 80.7% from €8.49bn to €1.63bn.

Mr O’Leary’s pay of €250,000 for the year to March compares to a pay and bonus of €958,000 for the prior year. 

That was made up of basic pay of €500,000 and a bonus payment of €458,000.

At the outset of the pandemic last year, Mr O’Leary volunteered a 50% cut in his base pay and his maximum bonus was capped at €500,000.

According to the report, the Ryanair remuneration committee (Remco), did not award a bonus to Mr O’Leary or the airline’s senior management team for fiscal 2021.

The report states that while Mr O’Leary’s performance throughout the period was “impressive," the 50% of Mr O’Leary’s bonus linked to the airline’s budgeted profit after tax was not achieved as the group recorded a net loss for the year.

The report goes on to state "additionally, as the Group participated in the UK Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) scheme, Remco did not award a bonus for the achievement of Mr O’Leary’s personal targets in fiscal year 2021. As such, no bonus was awarded to Mr. O’Leary for fiscal year 2021”.

It said it plans to engage remuneration specialists in the second half of fiscal year 2022 to review senior management remuneration arrangements.

However, Mr O’Leary’s paper fortune through his 3.9% share of the airline has rebounded in the past year and has increased by €270m in value as the share price of the airline has recovered.

In July of last year, Mr O’Leary’s Ryanair shareholding had a value of €470m based on a share price of €10.95. That has now recovered to €16.79 with Mr O’Leary’s shareholding now worth €740m.

Under Mr O’Leary’s current five-year deal with the airline, the group ceo stands to make €99m from stock options if profits exceed €2bn for any one year or if the Ryanair share price exceeds €21 for a 28 day period before April 2024.

The 2021 report shows for Mr O’Leary’s pay, €1.78m appears under the heading of shared based compensation and the report states that this figure relates to ‘a non cash accounting charge’ for 10m share options granted under Mr O’Leary’s five-year deal with the airline in February 2019.

In his message to shareholders on the business impact of Covid 19, Mr O’Leary states: “We will emerge from this Covid-19 crisis with a lower cost base, a better business model, and with one of the strongest balance sheets in the industry, which leaves us well-positioned to capture further growth over the next five years.

He later adds: "We expect a substantial return to pre-Covid traffic volumes through the 2nd half of 2021, and we look forward to returning to pre-Covid growth in Summer 2022.” 

Last December, Ryanair ordered 210 Boeing Gamechanger aircraft and Mr O'Leary said: "Our negotiations with Boeing for a follow-on MAX-10 order continue, and we hope to conclude an agreement with our major aircraft supplier before the end of the current year.”

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